So most Leafs fans have resigned themselves to watching the Leafs bungle their way to a top 5 draft pick but even still I am sure that the highway robbery of last night rubbed them the wrong way.
Greener has a round up of the bad calls but he misses the worst part of them all: the non-call on the Canes powerplay. Just after giving Antropov a penalty for a stick-check the exact same move is put on Gill as he is trying to ice the puck. No surprise, considering the way the season has gone, that the puck is kept in the zone, passed down low, and eventually finds its way into the Leafs' net. Seeing the refs make a different call when circumstances are exactly the same is frustrating. It was so irritating for Antropov that he picked up a three game suspension for throwing his stick. Sadly, from all reports it seems that he missed the refs.
That bit of blindness was frustrating because the refs willfully decided to apply the rules differently but the missed penalty shot was rage-inducing because the rules are clearly spelled out in the NHL Rule Book:
67.4 Penalty Shot - If a player, except a goalkeeper, while play is in progress, falls on the puck, holds the puck, picks up the puck, or gathers the puck into his body or hands from the ice in the goal crease area, the play shall be stopped immediately and a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending team.
The emphasis is mine but Tim Gleason satisfied those criteria and again the referees decideed to err on the side of the home team. It's not a systematic persecution against the Leafs but last night was a horribly officiated game. As the playoffs near, more and more will be made about how uneven the calls are made. It's not shaping up very well for the league because each blown call (paging Mick McGeough) will cause eruptions in the offended city. It's a shame Maurice managed to hold it together last night because I would have loved to hear a classic coach blow up rant.
On the bright side, or the depressing side depending on what side of the fence you are on in the "Trade Mats" debate, The Captain either upped his trade value with two points and provided Leaf fans with another clutch goal to remember him by or he had another strong game in a 14 year string of strong games for the Leafs. Paging Mr. Stamkos, Mr. Doughty.